Accumulation of prion protein in the vagus nerve in Creutzfeldt‐Jakob disease

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Abstract

Disease‐associated proteins are thought to propagate along neuronal processes in neurodegenerative diseases. To detect disease‐associated prion protein (PrPSc) in the vagus nerve in different forms and molecular subtypes of Creutzfeldt‐Jakob disease (CJD) we applied three different anti‐PrP antibodies. We screened the vagus nerve in 162 sporadic and 30 genetic CJD cases. 4/31 VV‐2 type sporadic CJD and 7/30 genetic CJD cases showed vagal PrPSc immunodeposits with distinct morphology. Thus PrPSc in CJD affects the vagus nerve analogously to α‐synuclein in Parkinson’s disease. The morphologically diverse deposition of PrPSc in genetic and sporadic CJD argues against uniform mechanisms of propagation of PrPSc.

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